Paraxial wave equations are derived for the propagation of beams in uniform uniaxial anisotropic media. The equations are generalized to the case of nonuniform media with weakly varying refractive indices. An ordinary wave beam is governed by a standard paraxial equation, whereas an extraordinary wave beam is governed by a paraxial wave equation, which involves both a displacement relative to the position of an ordinary wave beam and a rescaling of one transverse coordinate. The solution to the latter equation for a propagating Gaussian beam displays a distortion of both shape and phase front. Numerical results for diffraction by a uniformly illuminated circular aperture in a calcite medium display various anomalies ascribable to a loss of circular symmetry.
© 1983 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article